EA Responds to Fox News Bulletstorm Segment

EA has responded to a recent Fox News story that asked the question "Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?" and (thanks to one participant) made the amazing claim that the increase in rapes can be attributed to playing games. There were other amazing claims in the report, but the most disturbing words came from Psychologist Carol Lieberman, who insisted that there was a correlation between playing sex scenes in games and rape. She told Fox news:

"The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games." Of course, there is no research to back up her claims that we are aware of, but the truth should never get in the way of a good talking point.

Tammy Schachter, vice president of public relations for EA, issued a lengthy statement to Game Informer concerning the Fox News segment:

"As you know, Bulletstorm is a work of entertainment fiction that takes place in the 26th century on the abandoned fictitious paradise planet Stygia, where our heroes fight mutants, monsters, flesh-eating plants and gigantic dinosaurs.

Epic, People Can Fly and EA are avid supporters of the ESA and believe in the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating system. We believe in and abide by the policies put in place by the ESRB.

Bulletstorm is rated M for Mature for blood and gore, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language and use of alcohol. The game and its marketing adhere to all guidelines set forth by the ESRB; both are designed for people 17+. Never is the game marketed to children.

Epic, People Can Fly and EA support the right of artists to create works of entertainment fiction for consumers of all ages, including adults who enjoy action adventures like Bulletstorm. Much like Tarantino’s Kill Bill or Rodriguez’s Sin City, this game is an expression of creative entertainment for adults."

As we inch closer to Bulletstorm’s release date it is becoming clear that the game has a target on its back.

Source: Game Informer

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  1. 0
    black manta says:

    I agreed wholeheartedly with the last paragraph.  When The Human Centipede came out last year, I was amazed at the large lack of outcry over it.  I had fully expected Fox News and the like to have been all over it.  But nothing.  Granted, it was independently financed and distributed and had limited release, but it generated a lot of word-of-mouth and was made available on On-Demand services concurrent with its theatrical run.  Yet there was no hue and cry to get that film banned or anything.

  2. 0
    SpencerRuler says:

    Awesome. Do you know if it has made through moderation? If so, do you have the link to your comment?


    Living in Canada can be a very good thing, you know. We enjoy the universal healthcare and gun-free environment of an European country while getting all of our games released at the same time as in the US.

  3. 0
    NecroSen says:

    I tried posting this to the comments on the FoxNews.com article, but I don’t think it’ll make it through moderation. Here goes (sorry for tl;dr):

    Mr. Brandon, As a video game enthusiast and as a purveyor of news in general, I am offended by this article’s contents. Blatant assumptions? Quotes from “experts” who cite no evidence or research at all, who are perhaps just speaking out of their asses? Judging a piece of entertainment media even before it has been released?


    Much of what is said on here is misleading or even blatantly false. First, point me to a 9-year-old who has the means to obtain $60 without their parent’s knowledge and who has access to a retailer that falls within the 20% margin, according to the FTC, of those which fail to check the age of a 15-year-old buying M-rated video games. Even then, 15-year-olds may look old enough to a lazy retail clerk: a 9-year-old does not.


    Second, you point to the “online-only” ESRB warning for Bulletstorm. That is a lie: every game rated by the ESRB must have a ratings symbol prominently displayed on the retail cover, both front and back, as well as on the game disc itself. I’m looking at the back cover for my copy of Bioshock, another M-rated game, right now, and it explicitly states the game’s contents: “Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language.” The same kinds of descriptors will appear on the retail box for Bulletstorm, along with the ESRB’s website.


    Third, one of your “experts”, Carol Lieberman, is quoted in your article as saying “The increase of rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games.”

    A) Where is the data showing that rapes are increasing, especially among young people?

    B) Where is the evidence proving that sexual scenes in a game cause or even relate to rape in the real world?

    C) Where is the mention that, according to FBI statistics, violent crime rates across the entire US have been declining steadily since the introduction of video games in the 1970s?

    D) How does simply being a psychologist and a “book author” qualify Ms. Lierberman to weigh in on this subject with any manner of authority?


    Fourth, your line mentioning the FCC’s enforcement of broadcast radio and television in relation to this in any way is completely unfounded. Show me what the FCC can do to a retailer of R-rated movies when they sell to an under-aged person, and then it might be relevant. I’ll answer that for you, actually: there is no force of law behind the MPAA ratings system for movies, which was the model for the ESRB rating system for games. Both systems are simply voluntary: not adhering to them has no legal ramifications. They cannot, in fact, without getting into issues of free speech and censorship by the government.


    By the way, did you know that an FTC secret shopper study conducted annually finds that video game retailers are actually better at preventing an under-aged person from buying an M-rated game than movie retailers and theaters are at preventing them from watching an R-rated film? Only 20% of their teenage buyers succeeded in purchasing an M-rated game. Try that with a 9-year-old, and something tells me it will be nearly impossible without their parents getting involved.


    But the one thing I take most offense to is that articles like yours exist at all: decrying a new video game as the end-all craziest thing to ever exist, the sure sign of the apocalypse, the one piece of digital media that will destroy our kid’s brains and fill them with thoughts of hatred and sexual deviance. Time has shown that this is not the case: games like Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein and DOOM have existed for decades now, and we have not become a society of degenerates and rapists. Violent movies and comic books and rock-n-roll music were once thought to be the destroyers of society, as well, and that has not come to pass. You are simple lambasting a thing you do not fully understand, nor may you ever.


    Besides, if you’re going to go this crazy over a violent game, why don’t you go this crazy over a violent movie? The next time you see a trailer for a horror movie coming out, I want to see a full page article, with “experts” questioning the MPAA rating system, claims that 5-year-olds are getting into theaters and raping their classmates afterwards, and a collective cry to “Save the children!” I don’t mind if you have a problem with violent media: just don’t limit it to only one type of media. 

  4. 0
    NovaKitFox says:

    thing i find funny the most.. content wise. bullet storm is more blood guts and curse words. sexual themes i would say would be comments about charecters messing with eachother verbably.    i’m surpised they are not after duke nukem.. which has nudity and sexual content in it’s take (and i want to play both)



  5. 0
    NecroSen says:

    Nope, hasn’t gone through. It didn’t stop me for length, so the submission wasn’t a problem. Not too hopeful on it getting posted, as they probably don’t want a wall of text posting up in the comments.

    Still hopeful that someone over there read it, anyway. 

  6. 0
    PHX Corp says:

    Here we go again, Laughing as hard to the point of passing out reading the reviews that is

    they’re also attacking the other books on her amazon.com website


    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  7. 0
    SpencerRuler says:
    40 of 43 people found the following review helpful:

    "This book causes cancer"

    Or at least, it deteriorates your brain in a manner very close to that of cancer.


    Living in Canada can be a very good thing, you know. We enjoy the universal healthcare and gun-free environment of an European country while getting all of our games released at the same time as in the US.

  8. 0
    SpencerRuler says:

    I’d be surprised too if they did end changing something in Bulletstorm, but it’s easier for EA to defend the "artistic vision" of a work of fiction than a game based on an on-going war, which means that EA only really defends such controversial choices if it serves them, like Dante’s Inferno or Dead Space 2. But Medal of Honor? Apparently the American Public prefers to see the U.S. fight ennemies that never existed or no longer exist.


    Living in Canada can be a very good thing, you know. We enjoy the universal healthcare and gun-free environment of an European country while getting all of our games released at the same time as in the US.

  9. 0
    NecroSen says:

    Caving on the Taliban (pun?) because of pressure from military families is one thing: caving to outlandish conservative bloggers who reel at the mention of sex and "buttocks" is something else entirely. If they did, I don’t think I could take anything published by EA seriously anymore, no matter how good of a game it’s supposed to be. 

  10. 0
    SpencerRuler says:

    "[…]This game is an expression of creative entertainment for adults."

    EA said the same thing about the lastest Medal of Honor, right before caving-in to the critics and changing the name of the Talibans to OpFor.


    Living in Canada can be a very good thing, you know. We enjoy the universal healthcare and gun-free environment of an European country while getting all of our games released at the same time as in the US.

  11. 0
    Inimical says:

    Thanks for posting that, I just sent her an email asking if I could see the information she made this claim on.

    You never know. 

    I also once saw a study that made a connection between an increase of rape and an increase of ice cream sales. The author concluded that ice cream makes men rape women.

    The real answer? Ice cream sales and rape go up in the summer because people are out more, more active, etc. All crime goes up in the summer.

  12. 0
    kurbster says:

    Fox News bothering with experts?  They don’t need experts to persuade their conservative base…..they’re dumb enough to believe anything w/o evidence (Obama being a muslim, anyone?)

  13. 0
    Technogeek says:

    "She also claims people in the field regard her as a Dr. Freud of her times or something like that."

    A peddler of long-debunked claims about mental workings who seems unusually fixated on sex? Sounds about right to me.

  14. 0
    Avalongod says:

    Why aren’t people pointing out more that rape is DOWN?

    This Lieberman is a psychiatrist, not a psychologist.  For shits and giggles, here is her web-site: http://drcarole.com/


    She sounds kind of nutty on it, more pundit than mental health professional.  She claims that people in the field know her well and respect her (as someone actually in the field I’d never heard of her before).  She also claims people in the field regard her as a Dr. Freud of her times or something like that.

    Where does Fox News dig up these "experts"?


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